Southern CrOss Laser-Ablation Research InStruments (SOLARIS)

SOLARIS is composed by an Laser-ablation system NW213 from ESI, with large ablation (LA) cell linked to an Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICPMS) 7700 from Agilent. The facility inaugurated in 2012, is an ultra clean environment to allow the detections of ultra trace elements. The lab was designed in three sections (change room, metal free wet chemistry lab and the instrument room) to minimize contamination to samples. It also features a positive air pressure and constant monitoring of temperature, humidity and air particle count.

Samples are placed in the large ablation chamber, where the laser vaporises specific parts of the surface. A flow of He in the ablation chamber carries the elements towards the ICPMS where it mixes with a flow of Ar just before entering the torch.

Because of the laser beam width, intensity and pattern can be changed easily; the instrument thus offers not only high precision measurements but also very targeted sampling and virtually non destructive analyses.

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Mapping of a Neanderthal Child tooth using LA-ICPMS

(credit R. Joannes-Boyau)


Laser ablation Instrument NW213 from ESI, during the elemental mapping of fossil teeth

(credit R. Joannes-Boyau)